China Cracks Down on Social Networking Sites

Politically sensitive material blocked after day of protests fizzles

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 22, 2011 3:35 AM CST

(Newser) – The Chinese government has stepped up censorship of the Internet following a failed effort to use social networking sites to kickstart a North African-style "Jasmine Revolution." Facebook and Twitter are banned in China but the Chinese equivalents have been flourishing. Government censors, however, moved swiftly to block all online references to the planned protests and some websites had their search functions completely yanked over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reports.

A senior Chinese official says the government wasn't worried by Hillary Clinton's speech last week in which she said authoritarian regimes were facing a "dictator's dilemma" on how to prevent the Internet from being used against them. "We're not afraid," the official told reporters. "We don't have anything to worry about, but we have to prevent people from using the Internet to damage or destroy social stability."

Police officers stand in front of a Shanghai cinema where protesters had been urged to gather.
Police officers stand in front of a Shanghai cinema where protesters had been urged to gather.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
A man, 3rd from left, is detained by police officers in front of a cinema that was a planned protest site in Shanghai, China, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.
A man, 3rd from left, is detained by police officers in front of a cinema that was a planned protest site in Shanghai, China, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
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